TAHLEQUAH — Hopper was instrumental in the RiverHawks snapping an eight-game losing streak with a 31-3 victory over Southwest Baptist at Doc Wadley Stadium. He was well on his way to career-high yardage and touchdown totals after his 49-yard scoring run in the second quarter.
“Steven’s got great vision, which is the No. 1 quality that a running back has to have,” Evans said of Hopper, who only rushed for more than 200 yards only once in high school — a 307-yard performance in 2009 against Sand Springs (which had current teammates, Terrance Dixon and Johnny Deaton, on the roster).
“(Hopper) was able to find some things when there wasn’t much there.”
Of course, none of Hopper’s production at NSU would be possible without Evans’ trip to Tulsa last winter.
During the offseason, Evans ventured into a Planet Fitness in the Tulsa area and tracked down Hopper — who had all but retired from collegiate athletics. But Evans did a little persuading and was able to get Hopper to rejoin the RiverHawks after he had played in nine games as a freshman in 2009.
“We had a big talk back in December of 2012...and we had talked about me getting back on the field,” Hopper said. “...After recruiting was over and things like that, (Evans) gave me a phone call and said that they would be able to give me a spot on the team.
“At that point, I was pretty much committed, because if God can open one door, he can open it again. So I had closed it once before and it had been opened again, so I was very thankful and I knew that was what I really wanted to do.”